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Cases in US history when women were behind the mass shootings

Women mass shooters in US; The recent shooting at a private Christian elementary school in Tennessee was carried out by a 28-year-old

By Ground Report
New Update
Cases in US history when women were behind the mass shootings

The recent shooting at a private Christian elementary school in Tennessee was carried out by a 28-year-old Nashville resident named Audrey Hale, who identified as transgender according to police.

Records show that Hale is among the very few non-male mass shooters in US history. Armed with two assault-style rifles and a pistol, Hale stormed into The Covenant School and killed three children and three adults.

How Many Mass Shooters Have Been Female?

According to the Violence Project database, which tracks data on mass shootings in the United States, women account for only 2% of mass shooters in the country.

The database, which has not yet included the Nashville shooting, has recorded that only four out of the 191 mass shooters it has monitored since 1966 are women.

The database also shows that Monday's shooter is only the fifth female mass shooter in US history, which highlights the rarity of such incidents.

Out of 250 active shooter incidents identified by the FBI in the United States between 2000 and 2017, nine involved female shooters.

These women typically used handguns and carried out their attacks in places such as colleges, businesses, or their current or former workplaces, according to the FBI's list.

However, a report by the US Secret Service found that none of the 28 mass attacks in 2017 were carried out by women.

According to data compiled by the FBI, only one out of the 61 mass shootings that occurred in 2021 was committed by a woman.

Additionally, a study published in the journal Violence and Victims and led by Lankford analyzed 292 public mass shooters worldwide between 1966 and 2012 and found that only one of them was female.

Why are there fewer women shooters?

The reasons for the gender disparity in mass shootings are complex and multifaceted. Some experts suggest that societal norms and gender roles may play a role in shaping violent behavior, as men are often socialized to be more aggressive and competitive than women.

Other factors, such as mental illness and access to firearms, may also contribute to the gender gap in mass shootings

While the overall number of female mass shooters is low, it is still important to address the root causes of violence and work towards preventing all forms of mass shootings, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator. This includes efforts to improve mental health care, reduce access to firearms, and address social and cultural factors that contribute to violence.

Women as mass shooters in US

Female Mass Shooter Brenda Spencer

Brenda Spencer, a female mass shooter, is one of the more infamous cases in history. The Violence Project's national database, which defines a mass shooting as an incident resulting in four or more fatalities, does not account for Spencer's crime.

Brenda Spencer. Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS

In January 1979, at the age of 16, Spencer opened fire at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, killing two adults - the school principal and custodian - and injuring eight children.

When asked why she committed the heinous act, Spencer, who is currently serving time in a California prison, notoriously replied, "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day."

Nasim Aghdam YouTube headquarters shooting

In recent years, several female mass shooters have gained notoriety, including Nasim Aghdam, who carried out an attack at YouTube's headquarters near San Francisco in 2018.

Nasim Aghdam. Credit: Screengrab/youtube

According to police, Aghdam became disgruntled with the video platform and wounded three individuals before taking her own life.

Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik

Another incident involved Tashfeen Malik and her husband Syed Farook, who attacked a social services facility in San Bernardino, California, in 2015.

On December 2, 2015, Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, opened fire at a holiday party in an office in San Bernardino, California, killing fourteen people.

Tashfeen Malik and Rizwan Farook. Credit: Facebook

According to authorities, the couple had pledged their allegiance to an ISIS leader in a Facebook post prior to the attack.

Malik, who was originally from Pakistan and had been living in Saudi Arabia before moving to the U.S. with Farook. The couple had a 6-month-old child at the time of the shooting.

Female Mass Shooter Latina Williams

In 2008, Latina Williams, a 23-year-old nursing student, carried out a mass shooting at Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge. Williams opened fire in a classroom, killing two women before fatally shooting herself.

Female Mass Shooter Latina Williams. Credit: nypost

The Baton Rouge Police Department later released a statement indicating that Williams had exhibited signs of paranoia and losing touch with reality prior to the shooting.

Female Mass Shooter Jennifer San Marco

Jennifer San Marco, a former employee of the U.S. Postal Service, opened fire on January 30, 2006, at a mail sorting center in Goleta, California, where she once worked. She killed six people before fatally shooting herself in the head.

Jennifer San Marco. Credit: nypost

Earlier that same day, San Marco had also shot and killed her former neighbor Beverly Graham. San Marco, who had been granted early retirement due to psychological reasons, was believed to be psychologically disturbed and convinced that she was the target of a conspiracy centered around the mail facility.

Laurie Dann

In 1988, Laurie Dann, a 30-year-old divorcee, distributed arsenic-laced Rice Krispy treats and juice boxes to acquaintances, former babysitting clients, her psychiatrist, ex-husband, and several fraternity houses at Northwestern University in the Chicago area.

Laurie Dann. Credit: Screengrab/abc7chicago

Fortunately, no one died from the poisoning. However, on May 20 of that year, Dann entered an elementary school in Winnetka, Ill., and opened fire, injuring several children and killing an 8-year-old boy.

Later on, she held a family hostage for hours, shot the family patriarch but did not kill him before eventually taking her own life.

Amy Bishop

In 2010, Amy Bishop, a college professor of neuroscience with a Ph.D. from Harvard, shot fellow faculty members at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Women mass shooters in US. Credit: Screengrab/Youtube

Despite seeming perfectly normal in her class leading up to the shooting, Bishop pulled out a 9mm handgun during a faculty meeting and killed three and injured three others.

Despite appearing normal leading up to the incident, Bishop entered a guilty plea and remains in prison today.

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